If you hear me humming a tune from "Fiddler on the Roof" this week, my loyal readers are the cause.


Well, just go back to Tuesday's piece of brilliance, in which a couple of desperate readers asked where they could find a reusable cloth mask. Since then, my inbox has been piling up with heartwarming messages from other readers offering masks they'd made for donation. We live in a kind and generous place. So I hooked up the question-writers with a couple of the mask-makers, and all that's left for me to do now is hum from "Fiddler."

"Mask-maker, mask-maker,

Make me a mask..."

But you know that's not really all I have to do, and even though I boast the finest set of pipes this side of Pavarotti, I'm not Humming Man, I'm Answer Man. But I can still fiddle a few moments longer as I let some other readers share with you their ideas of a few more places you can go to get your hands on a mask. (As happy as I was to play matchmaker to a couple of mask-makers, I can't do it for every question-writer, for my editor is a taskmaster who expects this column creator to stay busy on his word processor, or else it's see-you-later.)

Reader Janet had an idea:

The person looking for a cloth mask could contact a local church. Many of them have quilting or sewing groups and individuals making masks.

Tony suggested a good quid-pro-quo approach:

While they are not allowed to pay for blood donations, the Mayo Clinic Blood Donation Center bribed me by handing me a mask when I donated on Monday. It's not as sturdy as a cloth mask, but it's good enough for several uses. They didn't want it back when I was done. Call for an appointment, because they don't take walk-ins right now.

And Tonia wrote:

You can get masks at People's Food Co-op.

I called to verify that the co-op indeed has masks, but was unable to get through. You might want to call ahead yourself before leaving the house. The co-op is at 289-9061.

Most stores have had trouble keeping masks in stock. So if you have to resort to making your own, just remember this important cautionary note:

Dear Researcher of All Things Important: Please spread the word to people who are using furnace filters as part of the masks they’re making. They may be harmful! Some filters have fiberglass in them. My opinion is that no furnace filters should be used for the masks unless the maker has researched this and is certain that the filters are safe for breathing through. Thank you. -- Alarmed Reader and Sewer in Kasson

Use the right mask materials, and we can all breathe easier.